Saturday, October 21, 2017

Bishop Waynick elected to lead Eastern Michigan

From The Cafe-

The Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Michigan elected the Rt. Rev. Catherine Waynick to serve as Bishop Provisional of the diocese during their annual convention on October 20, 2017.

In a letter to the diocese, the Standing Committee celebrates the election saying, “It is with great joy that we announce that the Rt. Rev. Catherine Waynick has been elected Bishop Provisional of the Diocese of Eastern Michigan. We are excited to be taking this next step in our diocesan transition and are thrilled to be working with Bishop Waynick as our companion and pastor along the way.”

The election comes after nearly six months without a sitting bishop, following the Rt. Rev. Todd Ousley’s resignation to become Bishop for Pastoral Development of The Episcopal Church, a position on the Presiding Bishop’s staff. 

More here-

Sydney Anglicans Silenced In $1 Million "No" Campaign Donation Debate

From Australia-

Anglican clergy were stopped from debating the Diocese of Sydney's $1 million donation to the same-sex marriage "no" campaign this week, when motions to discuss the controversial use of funds were shut down at a meeting of the church assembly.

Archbishop of Sydney Glenn Davies announced the donation – made to leading "no" group the Coalition for Marriage – earlier this month, telling the diocese's 51st Synod it was a "bold step" in the high stakes arena of Australia's same-sex marriage survey.

The decision to hand over $1 million was made by the diocese Standing Committee, a representative body with decision-making power, and the money was taken from the Diocesan Endowment, a fund usually reserved for church administration.

Several Anglican leaders spoke out against the donation after it was revealed by BuzzFeed News, labelling it "regrettable" and "a poor use of church finances".

More here-

In Boston, some churches are providing sanctuary to undocumented immigrants

From Boston-

First-time visitors to Sunday morning services at Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Boston are met with smiles, handshakes, and even hugs. To call it a warm welcome would be an understatement.

Bethel AME is no stranger to political activism. But the mostly African-American congregation has taken up a new mission. In late September, the parish decided to give shelter to a man from El Salvador facing deportation. Church officials turned down a request for a face-to-face interview with the man, a father of five, who's now living at Bethel AME. But Rev. Ray Hammond explained the church's thinking behind becoming a sanctuary church.

"This is not a political issue. Ultimately it's a human issue," says Hammond, who co-founded Bethel AME with his wife, Gloria White-Hammond, a fellow physician and pastor herself. The couple started the church in 1989. It has done work on various social justice issues, including with youth, prisoners, and the impoverished.

More here-

Why God Doesn’t Heal People We Love? [Brutally] Honest Psalms #3

From Ann Voskamp-

Why, in the name of all things holy, do You cherry pick one person to heal and another person to die?

Why in the world does one baby get to recover and go home to laugh loud and inhale life and another baby gets covered with 6 feet a dirt and hunk of granite gravestone?

You tell us—- Why does this cancer patient get to tout that You heard their prayers and that cancer patient gets a morphine pump for the devouring pain and an unwanted visit from hospice?

When The Picked and The Healed audaciously celebrate: “God heard our prayers!” — are the unpicked and the unhealed really supposed to assume that You plugged Your ears and flat-out refused to hear their wildly begging prayers?

More here-

Three Malawians to receive Province of Central Africa’s highest lay honour

From ACNS-

Three women from the Diocese of the Upper Shire in Malawi are to receive the Order of the Epiphany – the highest lay honour of the Anglican Church of Central Africa. The awards will be presented tomorrow (Saturday) at a large service at the Cathedral of SS Peter and Paul in Mangochi. Bishop Brighton Malasa has invited everybody associated with the diocese – including clergy, members of the Mothers’ Union and youth organisations, as well as school students – to attend the service, which will be presided over by Archbishop Albert Chama, the Primate of Central Africa.

The Order of the Epiphany will be conferred upon Esther Khancha from Magomero Parish, Agnes Chinkhata of Mwanza Parish, and Rose Nasoro from the Cathedral. A fourth proposed-recipient, Chief Chilombo, died last month.

“These are people who have contributed to the wellbeing of the Church for quite a long time,” Bishop Brighton said. “They have advanced the mission of the Church including church planting to those areas [where] the Anglican Church was non-existent.”

More here-

Friday, October 20, 2017

Churches merge, close: 'We no longer live in Christendom. We really have to accept that it's a thing of the past'

From Baltimore-

Memorial Woodbrook Presbyterian Church have labored in the manner of many Mainline Protestant congregations: Working ever harder to provide spiritual resources for dwindling number of congregants.

Govans, on Greenmount Avenue in North Baltimore, has been hosting its Sunday night dinners for the poor and helping lead GEDCO, the social service organization it co-founded in 1984.

Brown Memorial Woodbrook, about two miles from Govans on North Charles Street, has been running its busy Sunday school and community garden and working on LGBT equality and other social justice issues.

But with attendance stagnating, maintenance costs rising and the population of Christians from which to draw shrinking, the two have decided to join forces. If the Baltimore Presbytery gives its approval next month, they’ll become one congregation before the end of the year, bringing more than 280 worshippers and 230 years of history together under one roof.

More here-

Pope Francis praises John Wesley for leading people to ‘knowledge of Jesus Christ’

From Catholic Herald-

Methodism founder John Wesley brought many people to Christ through prayer and Bible reading, Pope Francis has said.

Speaking with leaders of the World Methodist Council, Pope Francis praised 50 years of dialogue between the Catholic and Methodist churches, Vatican Radio reports.

“We are no longer strangers,” he said, but rather, through our shared Baptism, “members of the household of God”.

Speaking about John Wesley, the 18th-century Anglican clergyman who founded the Methodist movement, Pope Francis said his example converted many people to God.

“We cannot fail to rejoice” when the Holy Spirit works through other Christian denominations, the Pope added, as they “also help us grow closer to the Lord.”

More here-

Anglican church to pay ‘gay’ priests Ksh.6 million

From Kenya-

The Anglican Church of Kenya has been ordered to compensate three priests it accused of being gay Sh6.8 million by a Nyeri court.

Pastors Paul Warui, John Gachau and James Maigua were awarded Sh6.8 million for defamation and ordered to be reinstated to their pastoral duties following suspension by the church over homosexuality allegations.

The three clergy that they suffered humorous loss of reputation and integrity eroding their dignity among the congregants and public.

Labour court Justice Byram Ongaya also dismissed an application by the church to have the judgment, that was delivered on September 9, 2016, reviewed saying it would be an abuse of court process since the church has already moved to the Court of Appeal to challenge it.

Justice Ongaya further declined to have the Mt. Kenya West Diocese Bishop, Rev. Joseph Kagunda, and the Church Commissioners for Kenya (CCK) enjoined in the suit as respondents.

More here-

After the prayer - Faith leaders press for solutions to violence

From Indianapolis-

As authorities continue to investigate the deadly mass shooting in Las Vegas, leaders from various faiths are speaking out.

Of course, they have offered prayers of comfort and peace for everyone impacted by the tragedy, which claimed the lives of 58 people and led to hundreds of others being wounded after a gunman fired into a crowd at a concert.

However, many of these same faith leaders are joining forces to call for solutions to prevent future acts of mass violence.

“Prayer can be a powerful healing force in a divided country, but action is also needed to solve the epidemic of violence,” said Rev. Randolph Marshall Hollerith, dean of the National Cathedral in Washington, in a statement released to news media.

More here-

Methodists Host Dialogue

From The Living Church-

A portion of the Episcopal Church-United Methodist Dialogue Communiqué, issued after the dialogue’s meeting of Oct. 2-4 at the United Methodist Building in Washington:

The principal tasks of the dialogue group for this meeting were to review responses from members of both churches to the January 2017 document A Gift to the World: Co-Laborers for the Healing of Brokenness: A Proposal for Full Communion [PDF] and to plan for the future consideration of this proposal by each church’s legislative body. The committee is working to design a series of regional conversations between United Methodists and Episcopalians related to this proposal. They will also seek to develop a series of communications celebrating the close relationship between our denominations, highlighting the practical and missional opportunities that a full communion agreement would foster.

More here-

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Body of Fr. Daniel Westberg recovered from Upper Nashotah Lake

From Fox-

Officials announced on Thursday afternoon, October 19th that they had recovered the body of 68-year-old Fr. Daniel Westberg from Upper Nashotah Lake in Summit.

Fr. Westberg was a professor at the Nashotah House Theological Seminary -- and had been out sailing on the lake on Wednesday afternoon when his boat capsized. Police said high winds may have contributed to this accident.

"Witnesses observed a sailboat with one occupant in the northern portion of the lake at about 11:30. One witness stated that it appeared as if the occupant was having difficulty controlling the boat due to windy weather," Summit Police Chief Michael Hartert said.

Hartert said winds on the lake were registering between 13 and 23 miles-per-hour, but something on the boat may have malfunctioned.

"He was actually a very experienced sailor, however, we have to finish conducting our investigation, but there may have been a problem with the boat. There may have been a medical issue. We don't know those answers yet," Hartert said.

More here-

Nashotah Professor Dies on Lake

From The Living Church-

The Rev. Daniel A. Westberg, professor of ethics and moral theology at Nashotah House since 2000, died Oct. 18 in a boating accident on Upper Nashotah Lake. He was 68.

“The Rev. Dr. Daniel Westberg was a faithful priest of the Diocese of Milwaukee whose gifts as a teacher were a blessing to us all,” said the Rt. Rev. Steven A. Miller, Bishop of Milwaukee. “Our hearts and prayers go out to his wife, Lisa, their family, and the community of Nashotah House at this sad time. We pray that Dan will go from strength to strength in God’s perfect kingdom.”

Born in Chicago to parents who were missionaries with the Evangelical Covenant Church, Westberg grew up in Japan. He became an Anglican during graduate medieval studies at the University of Toronto and served as a priest of the Anglican Church of Canada for 10 years. He was received into the priesthood of the Episcopal Church in 2001.

More here-

Martin Luther, Pacifist?

From Plough-

The idea that you could associate the name “Martin Luther” with “pacifism” will come as a shock to most people, including most Lutherans. So let’s be up front about it: Luther would not qualify as a pacifist, plain and simple, by today’s definition. He strongly believed that God called certain people to certain public offices for the protection of the weak and innocent from harm, and those offices might well involve some violence in order to prevent even more violence. He called this “temporal authority” and not only theorized about it but at times also invoked it – and being that he was Martin Luther, the princes listened.

Unfortunately, when people today hear anything of Luther’s political philosophy at all, it’s only his views on temporal authority. And the exact nature of temporal authority à la Luther is explicated by his “two kingdoms doctrine”: God reigns in the right-hand kingdom through the church, in the left-hand kingdom through the state, and ne’er the twain shall meet – or so it’s said.

More here-

Church Seeks Bishop for ACC

From The Living Church-

Nominations are open through Nov. 20 for a bishop to serve on the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) to fill a slot left by the expired term of the Rt. Rev. Ian Douglas, Bishop of Connecticut.

The ACC is one of the four Instruments of Communion in the Anglican Communion. The role of the ACC is to enable cooperative work among the churches of the Anglican Communion.

The term is for three meetings of the ACC, which is generally nine years. The triennial meetings require a two-week commitment. The next ACC meeting is scheduled for 2019, at a location to be determined.

Among the requirements, the bishop must be a member of the Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops.  A thorough knowledge of the Anglican Communion and the Episcopal Church is required, as well as familiarity with their governance structures.

More here-

Removal of Robert E. Lee from church’s name was just start of healing for Virginia congregation

From ENS-

Grace Episcopal Church in Lexington, Virginia, has begun growing into its new name. Its website homepage is updated.  The stationery is new. And perhaps more consequentially, the annual stewardship appeal has been sent to members under the new church name.

A month ago, the vestry voted to remove Robert E. Lee from the name of the church he once attended, changing it from R.E. Memorial Church back to its previous Grace. That move ended two years of sometimes tense debate over the Confederate general’s legacy, both as a prominent member of the congregation’s past and a symbol of racial hatred in contemporary America.

At least one couple has formally left the congregation in protest of the name change. At the same time, the congregation faces a change in leadership: The Rev. Tom Crittenden announced this month he plans to step down as rector after Nov. 5.

Despite the recent upheaval, some parish leaders who had disagreed over whether to remain as R.E. Lee Memorial now express a mutual desire to move forward together as Grace Episcopal.

More here-

Amid decline, one Lutheran church strives to live up to its namesake’s spirit

From Religion News-

At a Bible study on a weekday evening, Lutheran minister Daniel Pugh paced before a group of 50 church members in cargo shorts and a plaid button-down shirt talking about Adam and Eve.

Clutching a hand-held remote he clicked through a PowerPoint presentation, telling members of Christ the King Lutheran Church that one way to interpret the story of Adam and Eve is as a coming-of-age allegory about a pair of carefree teens caught red-handed having sex.

In this, alternative reading of The Fall, the “forbidden fruit” offered to Eve in Chapter 3 may be a metaphor for sex, he said, and the “serpent” may be a metaphor for a penis.

Lutherans have certainly come a long way since their namesake, Martin Luther, nailed his 95 theses to the Castle Church door in Wittenberg, Germany, 500 years ago this month, sparking the Protestant Reformation.

More here-

Nigeria slams stage managed primates meeting

From Anglican INK-


Nicholas Okoh

To the Faithful of the Gafcon movement and friends from Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria and Chairman, the Gafcon Primates Council.

My dear people of God,

On the 31st October, it will be 500 years since Martin Luther’s 95 Theses triggered the Reformation. He was fired by holy indignation because of the way ordinary Christians were being abused by a church which was turning the need for divine forgiveness into a money making machine through the sale of indulgences, but that led him on to see the root of the problem.

The message of God’s free grace in the gospel had been buried under layers of superstition and human tradition, which Luther and the Reformers then exposed to the light of God’s Word. The recovery of the Bible as the first and foremost source of authority in the Church was the basic principle of the Reformation. Everything else depended on this and still does. 

More here-

What would happen if Episcopalians and their church put Jesus at the center – really?

From ENS-

It would seem obvious that Episcopalians have Jesus at the center of their lives and that the Episcopal Church centers on Jesus. Yet, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry challenged the church’s Executive Council Oct. 18 to deeply reflect on whether the church and its members are truly answering the call of Christ during these times of challenges from outside and inside the church.

Curry’s remarks came during the opening session of council’s Oct. 18-21 meeting. The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, president of the House of Deputies and Executive Council vice chair, joined him in that challenge. Council spent nearly 90 minutes listening to and discussing Curry’s challenge. The members and staff will continue that work Oct. 19, albeit from a different angle, in a session Jennings will lead on council committee reorganization.

Curry acknowledged that recently released data from the 2016 parochial reports from each congregation and diocese show that membership in the Episcopal Church continues to decline. The pace has slowed some, he said, but the trajectory remains downward. There were 6,473 domestic parishes and missions in 2016 compared with 6,510 in 2015. The number of baptized members who were active in 2016 was 1,745,156, compared with 1,779,335 in 2015.

More here-

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Pittsburgh Diocese Settles Suit Over Birth Control Mandate

From Pittsburgh-

The Pittsburgh and Erie Roman Catholic dioceses have settled lawsuits seeking to overturn an Affordable Care Act mandate that would have forced them to provide contraceptive and abortion-inducing drugs or services as part of their employee health care plans.

President Donald Trump's administration announced Oct. 6 that it was rescinding the mandate that was part of the health reform laws known as "Obamacare." The new rules also broadened "conscience protections" to include nonprofits and certain other businesses that claim a moral objection to contraception or abortion, even if it's not religious-based.

But lawsuits filed in 2012 challenging the mandate still remained after the U.S. Supreme Court last year ordered the religious entities and the government to settle the dispute.

More here-

Church of England anti-slavery initiative wins government backing

From Anglican Journal-

The U.K.’s Prime Minister Theresa May has given her backing to the Church of England’s new anti-slavery program. The Clewer Initiative was launched today at Lambeth Palace, the London home and headquarters of the Archbishop of Canterbury. “Modern slavery is a barbaric crime which destroys the lives of some of the most vulnerable in our society,” Prime Minister May said. “I value the work that the Clewer Initiative will be doing to enable the Church of England dioceses and wider church networks to develop strategies to tackle modem slavery.”

She continued: “In particular, I welcome the focus on engaging with local communities to help them to spot the signs of modem slavery. We need to shine a light on this hidden crime and to encourage more victims to come forward so that we can provide them with the support they need.”

More here-

Christian Author Comes Unglued on Evangelical Trump Supporters: “You don’t like that I’ve “gotten political,” huh?”

From Blue Dot-

Rachel Held Evans is a progressive Christian blogger and author of the books Faith Unraveled, A Year of Biblical Womanhood and Searching for Sunday.  Evans is also a prolific Facebook and Twitter poster who often stirs fiery debates in the comments sections with her posts.

In her most recent post that has people talking, Evans, who considers herself a former evangelical, calls out evangelical support for Trump as hypocritical and antithetical to the Christian life. “You don’t like that I’ve gotten political?” she asks in the post, answering herself with a strong defense of anti-Trump Christianity, and concluding with “Damn right, I’ve gotten political.”

More here-

The Secret to Marriage Is Never Getting Married

From The New York Times-

I am often asked if I am married. Sometimes I lie and say that I am. Sometimes I lie and say that I am not. Neither answer feels entirely truthful to me.

If I say I am not married, the true answer, people occasionally try to set me up with their offspring. They seem to think I would be a great daughter-in-law. Actually, I would be a great daughter-in-law. I send thank-you cards. I am a terrific conversationalist. I can bake a pie.

I met the man I am not married to the second week of college.

“You’re wearing black,” Hans said. “I’m wearing black.”

This was said with some irony; we were standing in a black box theater. Everyone was wearing black. He had a girlfriend, so we didn’t get together until several months later. We have been together ever since, 21 years.

More here-

Newark Seeks 11th Bishop

From The Living Church-

The Diocese of Newark is accepting nominations in the search for its 11th bishop, and has posted its profile. Interested parties have until Nov. 3 to nominates themselves, but anyone intending to nominate another person must do so by Oct. 20.

The profile acknowledges the central role played in recent decades by the Rt. Rev. John S. Spong, its eighth bishop:

Our most familiar and controversial figure is The Rt. Rev. John Shelby Spong, elected and consecrated in 1976. Bishop Spong became a prolific author and advocate for progressive causes both nationally and within The Episcopal Church. He led our Diocese to champion women’s ordination and later, gay rights, far earlier than most other Episcopal Dioceses. One result of Bishop Spong’s 24-year tenure was an ongoing and transformative dialogue on issues that would later threaten schism within the larger church. Women and gay clergy found this Diocese to be a safe place to explore ministry, which influenced change in other dioceses. All this contributed to Newark’s reputation as a progressive Diocese.

More here-

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

First Latino priest to be ordained in the Episcopal Diocese of Western Michigan

From Western Michigan-

It has been quite a journey from Bogota, Colombia, to Grand Haven, Michigan, for the Rev. John Infante, soon to be the first Latino priest ordained in the Episcopal Diocese of Western Michigan.

Born into the Episcopal Church in Colombia, Infante’s career path took him from a large hotel chain in Colombia, to law school in the evenings, and then a career as an attorney where he worked in Internal Affairs for the police in Colombia. During this time, he served as junior warden and then senior warden of his parish and eventually as legal counsel for Province 9 of the Episcopal Church.

However, Infante had a deeper sense of calling for pastoral ministry in the church. He sensed a calling to priestly ministry and began the process of discernment and formation for the priesthood. He was licensed as a lay pastoral minister in 2008 and appointed to work at St. Patrick’s Mission, outside of Bogota. In 2009, he began his studies at the Center for Theological Studies in Bogota, receiving a licentiate in theological studies. He was ordained a transitional deacon in 2012 and assigned to continue his work at St. Patrick’s Mission.

More here-

Responding in Faith

From The Cafe-

A reflection on the mass murder in Las Vegas

The appalling massacre that took place in Las Vegas is almost too much to comprehend. The death toll and the numbers of injured are staggering. As is often the case, we will never fully know what was in the mind and heart of the shooter, or why a group of innocent people became the target of his rage. In the face of such unspeakable violence, there are loud and insistent voices coming from many sides. There are some who advocate arming ourselves to the teeth. Others call for the total disarmament of civilians. There are lots of folks in between these two extremes who are overcome with grief and sorrow, who despair of ever finding a way to stop what has become a familiar pattern of violence and bloodshed. There are no easy answers here, but that does not mean that there is nothing we can do. In fact, I believe that John the Baptist might teach us something about our response to the massacre in Las Vegas.

In the third chapter of Luke’s Gospel, the word of God comes to John the Baptist in the wilderness. John begins to preach in the area around the Jordan River, calling people to repent of their sins and be baptized, so that they might become a new people fit for the coming of the Lord. John is not subtle – he entices the crowds to the river’s edge, only to insult them by calling them a brood of vipers. He speaks in ominous terms about an ax that is already lying at the root of the trees, ready to destroy those that do not bear good fruit. John’s vision is radical: he is calling for a new kind of purity based not on one’s religious heritage, but on words and deeds that reflect the will of God.

More here-

A Pittsburgh Group Dedicated To A 19th Century Cardinal Digitized His Life's Work

From WESA Pittsburgh NPR-

A Pittsburgh research center devoted to the works of a theologian, who later became a Catholic cardinal, has finished the first part of a project to digitize his manuscripts.

Archivists in Birmingham, England worked for four years to take high-quality images of John Henry Newman’s unpublished writings on theology, education and philosophy. It will take another year to upload the nearly 30 terabytes of material to a website operated by the Pittsburgh-based National Institute for Newman Studies in Oakland.

“As funding sometimes gets thinner at universities, it’s really helpful for scholars in different parts of the world, as scholarship becomes international, that they can access the original material that the thinkers they are working on were using,” said institute director Bud Marr. “To see those things in quality, high-definition images will really be important.”

More here-

The Psalter Should be Woven into the Fabric of Worship

From Theopolis-

This has always been the position of the Christian Church, and from an historical perspective the present situation in evangelicalism is appalling. The early liturgies of the Church, which are still used in Episcopal and Lutheran worship, are laced with psalm phrases. The early hymns, such as the Te Deum and the Gloria in Excelsis, are built up of phrases from the psalms and the New Testament. Chanting of several psalms was integral to worship as an act of covenant renewal.

When I was in college, and became a serious “Bible-believer,” it seemed only logical to me that we should sing the Bible in worship. When I found out that the Church used to do it, and then stopped, I was amazed. I’ve been amazed for forty years. I’m still amazed.

I’m amazed at the opposition that the suggestion that the psalms be sung arouses in “Bible-believing” evangelical and Reformed circles. If you want to sing an occasional metrical psalm as a curiosity, that’s fine. If you want to have a psalm-sing on Sunday afternoons, that’s okay. But if you want to make psalmody a normal part of Lord’s Day worship, be prepared for opposition. (And yet, I really think most Christians would love to sing psalms in worship. The main problem is with the leadership, formal and informal, in the Church.)

More here-

Only the Vatican Has More Christian Relics Than Pittsburgh

From Atlas Obscura-

TROY HILL, POPULATION 3,000, IS situated on a small plateau overlooking Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It’s a historically German, but quintessentially Pittsburghian, neighborhood characterized by cozy row houses, gritty neighborhood bars, cool new restaurants, and lovingly decorated front porches bedecked with Steelers flags and flower baskets. But there is more in Troy Hill than meets the eye.

At 1704 Harpster Street sits St. Anthony’s chapel, which houses the second-largest collection of Christian relics in existence after the Vatican. Within the greige brick facade are the bones, blood, teeth, ashes, hair, and personal belongings of the holiest members of the Christian church: the apostles, saints and martyrs. There are approximately 5,000 relics in total.

Inside the church, the eye is first drawn to a ceiling painted with religious symbols and names and then to tall walnut cases displaying hundreds of metal artifacts behind glass. There are miniature metal churches, monstrances, chasses (caskets), and medallions pinned to burgundy velvet. Each ornament contains a tiny, mysterious particle, tied in red embroidery thread and sealed with wax, which can be viewed through a clear glass or crystal aperture. There are what look like fingernail slivers and jagged pieces of porous grey bone. Some hold bits of cloth stained with drops of dried brown liquid.

More here-

Travel guide here-

What Should You Wear To Church? A Handy Guide For Each Denomination

A little humor to start the day-

Whether you’re visiting your parents’ stuffy old Baptist church or piling into the family minivan because the kids are begging to ride the roller coaster at the sleek new megachurch down the street, the age-old question persists: what should you wear?

Wonder no longer, good and faithful servant. We sent a team of Babylon Bee agents to over two thousand churches, big and small, new and old, all across the land to research customs, dress codes, fashion do’s and fashion don’ts. This exhaustively researched article is the result, and it’s absolutely packed with helpful fashion tips.

Bookmark this page and check it any time you’re unsure what it is you ought to be wearing to church!

More here-

Monday, October 16, 2017

Princeton Student Ministry Drops Evangelical Name After 80 Years

From Christianity Today-

More than 80 years ago, the first president of Princeton Evangelical Fellowship aspired for the organization to allow students “to enjoy Christian fellowship one with another, to bear united witness to the faith of its members in the whole Bible as the inspired Word of God, and to encourage other students to take, with them, a definite stand for Christ on the campus.”

In 2017, the Ivy League student ministry remains fully committed to this purpose … just without calling themselves evangelical.

The long-running organization changed its name this year to become Princeton Christian Fellowship, citing baggage surrounding the evangelical label.

“There’s a growing recognition that the term evangelical is increasingly either confusing, or unknown, or misunderstood to students,” the organization’s director, Bill Boyce, told The Daily Princetonian.

More here-

The Life of Pauli Murray: An Interview with Rosalind Rosenberg

From African American Intellectual History Society-

In today’s post, Alyssa Collins, PhD candidate in the Department of English at the University of Virginia, interviews Rosalind Rosenberg on her new book Jane Crow: The Life of Pauli Murray, which was recently published by Oxford University Press. Dr. Rosalind Rosenberg is Professor Emerita of History at Barnard College, where she joined the faculty in 1984. Professor Rosenberg specializes in American history with a focus on women’s, social, and legal history. Related to her most recent book, she is the author of “Conjunctions: Race and Gender in the Work of Pauli Murray” in the Journal of Women’s History (2002), Divided Lives: American Women in the 20th Century (1992), and “Pauli Murray and the Killing of Jane Crow” in Forgotten Heroes From America’s Past (1998) amongst many other publications. Professor Rosenberg is also a member of the Executive Board of the Society of American Historians.

More here-

True leaders bleed: Why Justin Welby's honesty on depression is a gift to the Church

From Christian Today-

 In a time when clerics are increasingly regarded with suspicion, or seen as privileged and distant from everyday affairs, Welby has chosen to bear his own scars to the watching world. His role is one laden with pressured prestige, but the Archbishop reminds us that he's still only human.

Speaking to Alastair Campbell for GQ, Welby described feeling 'beyond description, hopeless', and that while even a year ago he would have said he never got depressed, he now feels more familiar with the 'black dog' of depression.

It's important not to overstate Welby's comments: they don't amount to a seismic 'confession' of crippling mental illness – this is rather Welby speaking with typical candour about his struggles, but in a crucial way at a crucial time.

Why Attending Church No Longer Makes Sense

From Carey Nieuwhof-

There are many reasons why that’s happening (I outline 10 here), but I think it’s increasingly evident that it no longer makes sense to attend church.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a huge fan of the church. But I get why more and more people have simply stopped attending. Let me explain.

In the fall of 2015, I transitioned out of the lead pastor role at our church and into a Founding and Teaching Pastor role (Here’s a piece on why and how I did it). I still carry about 30 Sundays a year of teaching and work on some senior level projects, but that leaves me much freer than I’ve ever been on a Sunday morning. Sure, sometimes I host the service or have other roles, but more often than I’ve ever experienced before, I’m free on a Sunday. Which means I’m often an attender. So I feel what the culture is feeling more than ever before.

More here-

Sunday, October 15, 2017

The forgotten Christians of Nigeria -- faithful while enduring incredible persecution

From Fox News-

“Don’t go.  I swore I would never go back there,” came the voice of my friend Jay Smith on a trans-Atlantic Skype call.  “I’ve been in over sixty countries.  I’ve been all over Africa.  I lived there, and I’ve never felt unsafe the way I did in that country.  There is something especially terrifying about that place.”

“Good to know,” I replied.  “Alan said that he goes there all the time.  He said he even takes his children.”

Alan was a British politician who had recently attended one of my lectures in London.  To hear him tell it, Nigeria was like Club Med.

“Alan?”  Jay was incredulous.  “Did Alan also tell you that when he goes he’s traveling with the British government and is accompanied by heavily armed guards?  You?  You’re going to have an entirely different experience.”

This was my introduction to Nigeria. Jay’s opinion was not acquired from Trip Advisor.  He had been there more than once.  During a 2008 visit, he spent nine hours hiding in the wheel well of a car while a mob went up and down a blocked highway looking for Westerners to victimize. Nigeria was, in his view, unique to the African experience.  It wasn’t that terrible things didn’t happen in other countries; it was the sheer magnitude of them in Nigeria. Even other Africans are afraid of Nigeria and its well-earned terrifying reputation.

More here-

Statement by His Grace Bishop Angaelos regarding the brutal murder of Coptic Orthodox priest Fr Samaan in Cairo

From Coptic Center-

Another day in Egypt with another Coptic Christian murdered; this time a priest from Beni Suef, Upper Egypt, who was in Cairo collecting humanitarian aid for vulnerable members of his parish. Fr Samaan was paying a pastoral visit to a family in Cairo and returned to the church where he was earlier to collect his mobile phone. On the way, he was attacked by a knife-wielding assailant who chased him, stabbed him repeatedly, and then brutally killed him.

This incident makes us once again ask so many questions. Why should a priest not be able to walk safely down a street, especially a suburban street in Cairo? Why should he be chased by a man brandishing a deadly weapon and have no one run to his aid; in actual fact, everyone was running away. Why, when he lay drenched in his own blood did the ambulance service not arrive for over an hour, and then not treat him? Why, when the police finally arrived, and he lay dead, was a crime scene not secured and forensic evidence not collected to enable a robust and serious investigation? Why is his assailant immediately deemed mentally incapable without professional diagnosis, and why, if he is incapable, and a known violent criminal, is he left in the community with weapons within his reach? 

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Doubts Grow Over Archbishop’s Account of When He Knew of Abuse

From The New York Times-

The Anglican Church has been embroiled for most of this year in a scandal involving decades-old abuses that occurred in elite Christian holiday camps for boys where Justin Welby worked in his 20s, before eventually assuming his current post as the Most Rev. Archbishop of Canterbury.

The archbishop has said that he knew nothing of the abuse until 2013, when the police were informed about it, and he apologized in February for not having done more to investigate the claims further.

But now the grown men who were victims of the abuse as boys are coming forward to challenge the archbishop’s version of events, casting doubt on his claims of ignorance.

The archbishop, 61, was working abroad in 1982, when an internal investigation by an influential Christian charity supported allegations of sadistic practices by John Smyth, a prominent lawyer and evangelical leader who ran the camps.

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